Red-Tailed Hawk, Spiritual Meaning

Does seeing a red-tailed hawk communicate a spiritual meaning? Are there any omens about red-tailed hawks? Is it possible that the sighting of a red-tailed hawk carries a message from the other side?

Why Are Birds Captivating?

Why do birds capture our attention so easily? When compared to mammals, like us, their movements seem quite different. Different enough, that is, to hold our attention. Birds seem to look around as though sight is paramount. Some hop, some stride. Some even waddle (looking at you duckie). And birds are so many colors! But, most of all, don’t forget the most captivating thing about them: birds fly!

Red-Tailed Hawk, a Bird of Prey

Birds of prey stand out among the birds. After all, they’re death dealers—they trigger a transition from the overworld, to the underworld. It’s worth considering our evolutionary roots, we came from very small mammals. Those small mammals are what birds of prey hunt, and the red-tailed hawk is no different. Could it be that over the years, along our evolutionary journey, we have retained that fixation on swooping, marauding birds overhead?

What Are Red-Tailed Hawks?

Red-tailed hawks are birds of prey, belonging to the Buteo genus.

red tailed hawk

They are widespread, ranging all the way from Alaska down to Panama! In fact, their scientific species name is “jamaicensis“—this is a reference to where the bird was first described by scientists, Jamaica. So, that should drive home the extent of their range.

It’s difficult to say what a red-tailed hawk looks like. This is because they are “polymorphic”. This means there are many (poly) morphs (types). Some red-tailed hawks are almost entirely white, while others are almost fully black! So, when you see a hawk flying overhead and you’re wondering if it’s a red-tailed hawk, don’t focus too much on color to identify it. Instead, look at size and shape of the wings and tail. The tail, though, is reddish—some describe it as a “brick red” while others see it as more of an orange.


Were you raised calling some hawks “chickenhawks”? Well, that name is used for a few different species of hawks. The red-tailed hawk is one of those species. Interestingly, red-tailed hawks do not prey on chickens. Not the fully grown ones at least. Instead, red-tailed hawks prefer to dine on rodents.

Why a Red-Tailed Hawk?

Humans have a strong relationship with a number of animals. We are especially close to those that have adapted to thrive within the environments we have created: towns, cities, farms, docks, industrial sites, etc. Typically, when we think of animals that live alongside us, we might think of rats, mice, pigeons, and even friends like dogs.

Red-tailed hawks, too, belong in this category. After all, they have been found living in very close proximity to us. A famous individual—”Pale Male”—was immortalized in a PBS documentary!

So, their proximity to us can be seen to communicate a message of companionship and alliances. Seeing red-tailed hawks could mean you should consider who you exist alongside and, importantly, are you in harmony with those around you? If not, it could be time to re-examine those associations. How can you achieve mutually beneficial relationships with the people around you? Additionally, do you need to form new bonds with adjacent people?

Red-Tailed Hawks and Sight

Hawks are famed for their sight. And red-tailed hawks are no different. In fact, red-tailed hawks can spot a vole or mouse scurrying across the ground from over 100 feet away!

red tailed hawks are a symbol of good sight

And from that vantage point—high in the sky—they can see the macro as well as the micro. So, this is a message to us; we should consider the entire scope of our situations (especially our challenges). Not only should we view and understand the big picture, we should also appreciate the fine details of our situation. Such an all-encompassing approach can help us problem solve more effectively.

Furthermore, like all birds of prey, the red-tailed hawk’s eyes point directly forwards. These forward facing eyes communicate to us the importance of focus and determination. Specifically, if you are struggling to overcome a particular challenge, it could be that a red-tailed hawk’s appearance to you is a message to focus! Zero in on the problem, and attack it.

Red-Tailed Hawks and Patience

Patience is another message red-tailed hawks bring us. This is because they are extremely patient animals. They will observe prey carefully, waiting and waiting for the right moment to dive. So, we too should be patient. Learn from the hawk that timing is everything. If we move too soon or too late, we can sabotage our own efforts.

Are You Soaring or Flapping?

Red-tailed hawks teach efficiency. They will often “still hint”. This means that they find a perch with a good view and wait for prey to arrive at which point they take flight. And when they do hunt on the wing, they do so by gliding and soaring—i.e. they flap as little as possible. Therefore, red-tailed hawks teach us to value our energy and to direct it accordingly. Furthermore, through the act of effortless gliding, they teach us the spiritual importance of taking the path of least resistance. We should only veer from that path when the right opportunity arises.

Red-Tailed Hawks and Abundance

Red-tailed hawks are a clear symbol of abundance. If you’re suffering from a lack mentality and are visited by one or many red-tailed hawks then, perhaps, you should consider the red-tailed hawk’s vast range.

the red-tailed hawk's distribution is a symbol of abundance

As you can see, red-tailed hawks are hugely successful. So, considered the red-tailed hawk’s abundance—it has accepted the earth’s abundance and has proliferated across the entire continent.

Red-Tailed Hawks are Adaptable!

If you are struggling with the environment you exist in—perhaps the big city buzz is giving you anxiety or the arid desert has made you focus on its chronic lack of water—then consider our friend, the red-tailed hawk. Because, the red-tailed hawk has mastered so many different biomes.

red tailed hawk desert

It thrives in deserts, mountains, grasslands, foothills, coniferous and deciduous forests, and even tropical rainforests! But it’s not just natural environments they’ve conquered—they also live with us in huge cities, small towns, on farms, and on factories. Red-tailed hawks are almost everywhere.

red tailed hawk snow

So, if your environment is getting you down, the red-tailed hawk is a messenger for you. Try not to worry about the problems of where you are, instead focus on the truth that you possess the solutions. You, like the red-tailed hawk, can adapt well to your surroundings. You can thrive.

Red-Tailed Hawks, Symbols of Freedom Through Flight

Birds are symbols of freedom. It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Well, when it comes to the red-tailed hawk, it’s especially true. Just look at the bird’s massive distribution and you will understand how truly free this hawk is. As mentioned above, the red-tailed hawk is a symbol of adaptability because it has mastered so many biomes. However, it’s also a symbol of freedom because it first had to journey and discover these environments. So, remember, the red-tailed hawk goes wherever the heck it likes!

Hawks, a Symbol for Careful Preparation

Additionally, the red-tailed hawk is a symbol of careful preparation. It is an intelligent bird that considers the moment carefully. This can be seen in the way it hunts; the red-tailed hawk will observe and consider prey while it calculates the ideal time to dive.

As such, if you find red-tailed hawks presenting themselves to you, then you should carefully consider your moves. Are you rushing into something important? Is that rushing causing you issues? Or, conversely, are you waiting to long to strike? Because, that’s what the red-tailed hawk can teach you—move at the right time! Not too early. Nor too late. Think, and strike.

Red-Tailed Hawks and the Heavens

It goes without saying, but birds are intrinsically connected to the heavens. Consider the red-tailed hawk’s high flying act, and what it could mean to you. Are you connecting with celestial thoughts and feelings? Are you open to messages from above? Because, remember, birds connect the heavens with the ground. They are, therefore, like messengers from that realm.

Color and the Red-Tailed Hawk

Color, of course, plays an important role in meaning. So, what cosmic conclusions can we draw from the color of the red-tailed hawk.

It is called the red-tailed hawk for a reason, because its tail is red. The color red has lots of meaning.

First of all, it relates to the root chakra. As the name implies, the root chakra is what connects you to our earthly realm. An aligned root chakra will make you feel safe, secure, and at ease with the world. You will feel grounded. However, if you are suffering from root chakra issues you might feel the opposite. The appearance of red in nature could be a sign for you to consider the health of your root chakra.

red-tailed hawk tail color red orange brown
Red, orange, or chestnut brown? You decide!

However, the “red” of the red-tailed hawk is not a very strict red. In fact, some label it “brick red” while others would contend it is actually more of an orange. In which case, the color would be associated with the sacral chakra rather than the root. The sacral chakra is about sexuality, relationships with others, emotions, and creativity. So, consider this, is the red-tailed hawk bringing you a message to correct the alignment of your sacral chakra?

Check out our complete guide on balancing your chakras right here.

Life Between Worlds

Like other birds of prey, the red-tailed hawk connects different realms. Consider its dominance of the sky—the celestial—and its hunting on the ground—the earthly. But, it’s more than that, predators are violent guides that transition spirits from the world of the living to the world of the dead. It may be macabre, but consider life itself and the transformation that comes at the end.

Further Reading